Now I’m not saying the original cover was bad but what a difference a new cover makes to the impression of a book. It’s not quite the finished thing but nothing looks wrong to me. What this really shows is that art and design plays a big big big part in setting the scene for a novel. It’s more in keeping with the paperback UK cover for City of Ruin, which was a great second novel. I’m ashamed to say that The Book of Transformations is on my pile of ‘why haven’t I got to that books’ of 2011.

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One of my favourite series ever is by Garth Nix. It’s called The Old Kingdom series aka the Abhorsen TrilogySabriel,  Lirael and  Abhorsen) and tells the tale of the Abhorsen who protects the Old Kingdom from the dead by laying them back to rest. And it’s Sabriel who takes on this burden but she has a darker journey ahead of her. What I liked is that it’s described as “cross-over” fantasy trilogy and as the description says ‘theoretically equally appealing to both children and adult readers’ and I’d agree. I keep meaning to re-read it and I don’t do that for many books.

Now the next one is Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen seeing as the last one was out in Jan 2005 it’s been a bit of a wait to as the least.

CLARIEL I’m writing CLARIEL: THE LOST ABHORSEN at the moment. It is set about 300 years before the events of SARIEL, in an extremely settled era of the Old Kingdom, where is almost no threat from the Dead or Free Magic, and the Abhorsens are considered something between an archaic remnant of worse times and municipal rat-catchers. Clariel will probably be a 2013 release.


All good things come to those who wait right?

In the meantime A Confusion of Princes promises to be something different but aimed at the same audience:

A major standalone space opera, this is Garth Nix’s first novel for older readers since the conclusion of the Old Kingdom trilogy! and it’s worth the wait. A grand adventure that spans galaxies and lifetimes, A Confusion of Princes is also a page-turning action adventure. These are the three deaths of Prince Khemri. Told in his own words, we follow him as he trains to become a Prince of the Empire, an enhanced human being, equipped with biological and technological improvements that make him faster, stronger and smarter than any ordinary person. Not to mention the ultimate benefit: should he die, and be deemed worthy, he will be reborn! Which is just as well, because no sooner has Prince Khemri graduated to full Princehood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are a million princes, and all of them want each other dead, because there can only be one Emperor!

And it’s out 17 May 2012 from Harper Collins Children’s Books. One for the diary!

Thousand emperors


“Archivist Luc Gabion has finally achieved his life’s goal — of bringing down Winchell Antonov, head of the Black Lotus terrorist organisation, and the scourge of the Tian Di’s stellar empire for countless years.
But instead of feeling victorious, the encounter has left him scarred. Forcibly implanted with a technology far in advance of anything he’s encountered before, Luc sees and hears things he knows he’s not supposed to. Worse, the technology is killing him, slowly. So when he finds himself investigating the murder of one of the Tian Di’s ruling clique, the Thousand Emperors, he knows he’s in real trouble. Any one of them could be the killer, and any one of them could have him put to death on a whim.

Worse, the dead man is the architect of the coming Reunification: two great civilisations, separated for centuries by old enmities, are about to reunite in a new age of peace and prosperity. But it soon becomes clear that someone out there is willing to do anything to make sure that day never comes…”

Author comment:

Those two civilisations, as anyone who’s read Final Days will guess, being those colonies originally controlled either by the Western Coalition or the Pan-Asian Congress (now the Tian Di). As I’ve said before, it’s really a stand-alone set in the future of Final Days, than a direct continuation of FD, which means you don’t have to have read the first (or so I believe) in order to read the second.

Shamelessly taken from Gary’s blog

Bugger that I’m definitely reading Final Days first! But great cover as a tease. :D

Final Days and is out now in Hardback/Kindle

Neal Asher has just had the remaining books in his backlist recovered and as I love Neal Asher it’s a good excuse to both share them and for you check out my reviews:



Extract from my review:

At the heart of Prador Moon is the threat of the Prador as they set about to destroy The Polity. The Polity with its A.I. and advanced technology seem stronger. But the Prador have more than one trick that the Polity doesn’t. It’s quite disturbing really especially when they try to convert their human prisons to the same purpose.  Asher has a vivid, logical and scientific imagination but this doesn’t detract from the emotional drama.

He invests the Prador with completely alien traits but also a level of humanity. He does the same with A.I Golem George. You get to get to see humanity from all sides. Which is the point really of most stories.



Extract from my review:

This is my first exposure to both Neal Asher and the Polity Universe and it won’t be the last. He’s a talented storyteller that doesn’t let the science take away from the fiction he’s writing. He makes it a part of the plot and explains it such a way that it’s understandable and vital to the action and not dumbed down at all.

Take for example Choudapt where Simoz in on a mission to neutralise an act of terrorism. He has a symbiont that allows from some interesting semi-internal dialogue. It takes place in an organic environment where the buildings are alive. He combines the story and the environment so one can only happen with the other.

Now the original covers weren’t bad but I am sorely tempted to upgrade the ones already on the shelf… but it’s the content the counts… right? Right???

Neal Asher’s new [non Polity]  novelThe Departure (Owner Novel 1) is out on 5 September 2011


I was in London on Thursday as Forbidden Planet had another of their mega signings bringing together five Gollancz authors: David Devereux, Paul McAuley, Justina Robson, Adam Roberts, Chris Wooding all there signing their new books.

Eagle RisingGARDENS OF THE SUN HBK AW PFP CS3.inddChasing the DragonI am Scrooge A Zombie Story for Christmas Retribution Falls

Strangely I only spoke to Adam Roberts and Chris Wooding. I was too shy to speak to Paul McAuley as I’m stuck on a detail in The Quiet War and didn’t want to look like an idiot by having to ask him about it… David Devereux was being amazingly charming and Karen was having a big fangirl moment with Justina.

I had my own fanboy moment asking Adam Roberts to sign a copy of Stone, it has the best narrator and central character ever. He talks to a rock. And the tale he tells is amazing. I also got him to sign a copy of I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story For Christmas, which he promised would enhance my sense of the joy of Christmas no end.

I also got a copy of Retribution  Falls signed. And after I told him that Liz had been bigging him up and this is what he wrote:

Chris Wooding Sig

I love it!

I also had a good chat about dragons with Stephen Deas as well as talking maps, bitch fights and the King of Crags (I think that a fight could have broken out over the only proof of that in the pub afterward…)

There was also some discussion of covers… but that’s getting a little old to go into again…

It was great to meet everyone and if I start naming them I’m going to forget people and that’ll just make me feel bad. If you can go to any signing in Forbidden Planet they are usually, though there is the Del Toro effect, small enough to be intimate but not quiet.

That’s enough with the Gollancz promo me thinks as exciting as it was.

I was late to the event as I grabbed some time with one of the lovely people from Orbit before I went.

Every Last Drop Joe Pitt novel Charlie Huston Deep Water

So they have some fab books out around now too like the final books in both Charlie Huston Joe Pitt and Pamela Freeman’s Casting Trilogy series. I’m guilty to be being one book behind on both.

I got an ARC copy of Mr Shiver:


What’s it about?

It is the time of the Great Depression. The dustbowl has turned the western skies red and thousands leave their homes seeking a better life. Marcus Connelly seeks not a new life, but a death – a death for the mysterious scarred man who murdered his daughter. And soon he learns that he is not alone. Countless others have lost someone to the scarred man. They band together to track him, but as they get closer, Connelly begins to suspect that the man they are hunting is more than human. As the pursuit becomes increasingly desperate, Connelly must decide just how much he is willing to sacrifice to get his revenge.

How cool does that sound?

Something that’s very brutal is a book I was reading on the way up:


It’s been getting plenty of good reviews but what I didn’t realise was that it was a very well researched story as well. Loved the opening. It’s looking good.

If you’re on Twitter you’d hopefully have seen some cool stuff coming out of the offices of Tor UK. Here is a sample:


Nights of Villjamur

An ARC that was just amazing when it arrived was:


Hyddenworld: Spring is by William Horwood. Now I’m going to show ignorance but  I couldn’t see what was so exciting about it until I chatted to Graeme (of Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review – that’s a link to his post on the above event BTW)

Now a look at Angry Robot Books , who have a great trailer for Servant of the Underworld by Aliette De Bodard.


Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan – the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, high priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead. But how do you find someone, living or dead, in a world where blood sacrifices are an everyday occurrence and the very gods stalk the streets?

And I’ve just seen this fabulous cover for The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar


A brilliant criminal stalks the streets of London. Scotland Yard is on his trail. But how can the city remain safe when every book is a potential weapon?

Yay steampunk!

And  finally fabulous cover for the new new book from my favorite writer of the last ten years. The Sword of Avalon by Mark Chadbourn (via Speculative Horizons):


Now there is some interesting stuff behind this one. I’m a big Chadbourn fan so I had a dilemma as the US version called (The Silver Skull) is out first and out now. But Mark is asking his UK fans to wait for the UK version. So I am. Doesn’t stop me showing off the cover. The book is out in the UK 1 April 2010.

The book features Will Swyfte who if you’ve read Kingdom of the Spiders or Solaris Book of Fantasy you’ll have met before.